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  • use extreme caution if the patient is taking alcohol, barbiturates or is epileptic

NICE suggest (2):

  • if a person with delirium is distressed or considered a risk to themselves or others and verbal and non-verbal de-escalation techniques are ineffective or inappropriate, consider giving short-term (usually for 1 week or less) haloperidol
    • start at the lowest clinically appropriate dose and titrate cautiously according to symptoms
  • use antipsychotic drugs with caution or not at all for people with conditions such as Parkinson's disease or dementia with Lewy bodies

Benzodiazepines should be avoided in the elderly due to the risk of inducing an acute confusional state (1).


  1. Prescribers' Journal (1999);39 (3):129-135.
  2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 2019. Delirium: prevention, diagnosis and management

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